RHS Goes International: Summer Europe Trip

Casey Majewski, Staff Writer

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This summer, 21 RHS students went on a trip to London and France, and it was the most successful one to be organized thus far. In the past, the school has organized several international trips that did not gain much traction and had low turnout rates.

Students and chaperones left July 25 and returned Aug. 2. Altogether, they spent ten days in Europe, two days in London and the other eight days in France. 

Participants were able to see and experience Dover Castle, the Tower of London and Piccadilly Square in England. In France, participants saw the Eiffel Tower, Normandy beaches and the city of St. Malo. The architecture of the landmarks and the overall design were an eye-catcher for most, since the sights were extremely different from what the students are used to, English teacher David Akatu said.

Paris was a breath of fresh air for those who were excited to get to the city after spending a good chunk of time at the Normandy beaches. Students saw street performers and visited shops that were close together on a strip of the city street. Since the city has a wide variety of activities, students looked forward to going there, junior Josh Toribio said.

“I don’t know what the kids enjoyed the most. Maybe shopping in Paris?” history teacher Elizabeth Seabreeze said. “There were some boys who had a really fun time shopping in Supreme.” 

London was extremely busy and traveling there created the nostalgic feeling of being in New York City. The countrysides of London and France were very picturesque, Akatu said.

Encountering the locals and being immersed in other cultures were other interesting aspects of the trip. 

“France is a little different. Just the way they dress, the way they interact with each other— social habits are a lot different. But England for the most part was pretty similar,” senior Lizzie Weir said. 

There were positive experiences with the locals in France, since they understood it was hard for the students and teachers to speak to them.

“Generally speaking, I think our experience was positive. People were friendly; people understood,”Akatu said. “Most people, especially in France where language can be a barrier, were very friendly and very helpful.”

On the other hand, some did not have as good of an experience with the Europeans  because of the linguistic barrier.

“I tried speaking French. Some people understood me and understood that I was not from there; some people just straight up ignored me,” Toribio said.

Not only was the culture and architecture different from the U.S., but the food was too. In England and France, their eating habits differ significantly as well. English and French people take meals much more seriously than Americans do, thus, eating tends to be a longer process and dinner can last for hours. Pastries are a huge part of the French food culture, as well as French food is very fat-based, with food such as butter, cheese, and bread. English food is very meaty and fatty, Weir said. 

 “The food was great. It was just like ours [in the U.S.]. We had fish and chips in London. We could’ve had snails over there but we had a lot of crepes, savory and sweet. It was very different, it was really nice,” Toribio said.

All of the positive experiences people had with the views, the natives and the culture should propel enough people to sign up for the next one. The next trip will be to Ireland, Wales, and England in the summer of 2021, organized by Seabreeze.

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